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Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

vii                                            DASYURES                                         15 I

is getting rarer on account of its sheep-killing propensities,
and the consequent war of extermination declared upon it by the
colonists. It will, however, feed upon other animals; and it is
related that the first specimen ever captured had in its stomach
the remains of an Echidna 1 Mr. Thomas thinks that the persist-
ence of this and of some of the other larger carnivorous Marsu-
pials in Tasmania after their extinction in Australia is not uncon-
nected with the advent of the Dingo. But It is stated that the
Thylacine is quite capable of keeping even a pack of dogs at bay.
The genus Sarcophilus has been frequently confounded with
the next, but it is kept apart by Mr. Thomas, who follows

Flo. 79. —Tasmania*! Devil.    Sarcophilus ursinus.
Cuvier in this. An alternative generic name is
which, like the first name, refers to the habits and character
of the single species which this genus contains. The genus is
more like Thylcwinus than is Dasyurus. The hallux is wanting,
and the teeth, though fewer in. number (42), resemble those of
the Thylacine more closely than do those of the Dasyure. The
species is called S. ursinus, the popular name being Tasmanian
Devil. It is black with a variable number of white patches on
the body. It is of about the size of a Badger, and is, like the
Thylacine, a nocturnal animal. The Tasmanian Devil is said to
be one of the most ferocious of animals, and to express its
ferocity by a "yelling growl/*
The next genus of this family, Dasyurus, comprises five
species, which range over the whole of the Papuan and Australian
sub-regions. The general form is "Viverrine, and the hallux is
sometimes present though smalL The dental formula is as in the